RSR: Rematching and Rebooting



RSR: Rematching and Rebooting

After a one week break to recalibrate the random part of my brain, the RSR is back for its 11th outing.

This week I look ahead to a highly anticipated rematch in boxing which takes place on September 23 and attempt to link boxing rematches and comebacks to the rebooting of a much loved mid 1990s-mid 2000s television series.

Sometimes going back for more is a good idea, sometimes it’s a terrible one.

Let’s begin.

Zhilei Zhang and Joe Joyce Set For Intriguing Rematch

In April Zhilei Zhang journeyed to London from his New Jersey base and scored a surprising, to some, win over previously unbeaten home fighter Joe Joyce.

Zhang beat Joyce

Joe Joyce vs Zhilei Zhang April 15 at the Copper Box Arena, London. Rematch is in Wembley. Photo by Leigh Dawney/Queensberry Promotions

China native Zhang, known as “Big Bang” was written off by fight fans and scribes on this side of the pond.

It should be noted that sharp observers in the United States, some perhaps familiar with the way the Lane Brothers, Terry and Tom, had manoeuvred Zhang towards the top of the heavyweight rankings, predicted a win for the visiting boxer.

Those who picked Zhang were correct as the six-foot-six southpaw slowed down the “Juggernaut” at the Copper Box Arena en route to a sixth round TKO win.

Zhang couldn’t miss with his left hand all night. Joyce’s right eye was badly damaged and the bout was rightly halted.

For the record, Zhang left London with the WBO interim heavyweight title.

Immediate Rematch Set For Wembley Arena

With Joyce convinced he can get the better of Zhang, he activated the rematch clause.

Once again London hosts, but the fight will take place at the larger Wembley Arena.

As has become cliché when it comes to boxing rematches, the question hovering around this one is “Repeat or Revenge?”

Boxer Zhang Zhilei

Big Bang Zhang seems relaxed and ready for the sequel scrap

Who knows?

Some word play is also in effect.

In reference to how the first fight concluded the slogan “An Eye for an Eye” is prominently positioned on promotional posters hyping Saturday’s sequel.

“I haven’t fought a southpaw for so long,” said Joyce immediately after the April defeat.

That was the case, but did he not spar exclusively with southpaws to prepare for Zhang? If not, why not?

That aside, we can only assume now that Joyce will be better prepared for the southpaw challenge coming his way on Saturday 23.

Indeed, speaking to TNT Sports, who will broadcast the fight in the UK & Ireland, Joyce confessed: “I know what to do this time around. I am coming in a lot more dedicated and focused this time. I’ve had a bit more practice with the southpaw style in terms of sparring and tactics going into this fight.”

Zhang Eyes Second London Victory

Zhilei Zhang landed in London several days ago and spoke to the Queensberry Promotions YouTube channel before he left the arrivals area of Heathrow Airport.

“I’m very happy to be back here. On April 16 I created history, on September 23 I’m going to do it again,” the now 40-year-old fighter said via translator.

“I feel great. I’ve added a lot into my training camp. I’ve added a new strength and conditioning trainer, a therapist, and a massager. Everything is perfect,” said Zhang.

The fighter was asked how many times he has watched the first fight: “I don’t even know how many times I’ve watched it. I don’t watch how I beat him, I watch my weakness and places I need to improve. I took that into the training camp and I believe I have made a lot of improvements.”

Finally, Zhang was asked about Joyce’s eye. Would he target it?

Zhang Vs Joyce 2 on Sept 23

Can Joyce fix things for the second bout?

“Of course. Everybody saw the eye swelling up so I’m aiming for the eye, no question about it. I’m going for the eye for sure.”

All Eyes Should Be On This Rematch

With Tyson Fury wasting 2023 playing with MMA fighters and Oleksandr Usyk having just fought, this encounter is the best heavyweight clash we are going to see until the calendar hits 2024.

Anthony Joshua vs. Deontay Wilder seems to have hit a roadblock too, so this is it for the year for the top end of boxing’s flagship division.

Joyce and Zhang are up there in age terms, but both of them still appear to have plenty of tread left on their tyres.

They are both promising better versions of themselves from five months ago.

Fans should be in for an entertaining night.

This rematch, which will be shown on ESPN+ in America, is worth your time.

This isn’t a pointless or unnecessary second dance, the likes of which we see too often in boxing.

This is one to savour. There could be hefty rewards for the winner. Let’s see how it plays out on September 23.

Frasier Has Re-Entered The Building

From a can’t miss rematch to a take it or leave it TV reboot.

All-time great sitcom Frasier is coming back in October.

Kelsey Grammer and Frazier is back

Frasier and son. We will have to see if reboot can pass muster

Lead actor Kelsey Grammer will reprise his role as the high culture loving but socially awkward psychiatrist in what Grammer described as “a third act” for the character.

Will this come back be more Geroge Foreman or Riddick Bowe?

Unfortunately, based on a trailer which is available on YouTube, the reboot looks like it could resemble Bowe’s 2004-2008 three fight swansong.

In other words, ill-advised and a bit pointless.

As a fan of Cheers, the show which first introduced Dr. Frasier Crane to us, and of course its spin-off, the original Frasier series which ran from 1993 until 2004, this one feels like too much of a stretch.

It could become regarded as just another crap sitcom, of which there are already plenty cluttering up streaming services around the world.

A wise link to Cheers has been created by the writers by setting the 2023 Frasier in Boston.

The psychiatrist returning to his roots to reconnect with his son is one of the few things we know about the reboot at this stage.

Trying to recreate the magic of that critically acclaimed run which netted 37 Primetime Awards will be nigh on impossible. Maybe the goal here is something different.

Without the characters we grew to love during that 11-year run, namely Frasier’s brother Niles, his dad Martin and Martin’s eccentric physical therapist Daphne Moon, the new imagining of Frasier has its work cut out for it.

Maybe, like an old boxer returning for one more swing, Grammar thinks the Frasier character still has something to offer.

Perhaps he does.

I hope the new show, which, according to a press release, will screen on Paramount+, can hit the ground running and that Frasier’s third act is indeed credible and worthwhile.

If the last 1000 words were too long for your taste, here's the summary: Zhang-Joyce rematch is good, possibly great; Frasier reboot is potentially terrible but we won’t know for sure until next month.

A boxing fan since his teenage years, Morrison began writing about the sport in July 2016. He appreciates all styles of boxing and has nothing but respect for those who get in the ring for our entertainment. Morrison is from Scotland and can be found on Twitter @Morrie1981.